A lecture on the past, present, and future of UK Higher Education

Crowd-sourcing ideas

Soonish, I will be giving a lecture on UK higher education to a large group of international students who come from Saudi Arabia, China, Iraq, Iran, France, Kuwait, Jordan, South Korea, Egypt, Brazil, Kazakstan, and more.

A lecture (Image from Wiki Commons)
A lecture (Image from Wiki Commons)

These students are mainly postgraduates, mostly in their mid-twenties, many have young children, and, generally, they have conditional EAP offers (English for Academic Purposes) to study Masters and PhDs in a range of disciplines, including: International Law, Chemistry, Philosophy, Nanotechnology, Immunology, Public Administration, Contemporary Chinese Studies, Business and Culture, Education, Theology, and Psychology.

I feel a great sense of responsibility.

With this post, I am therefore hoping to garner additional ideas, references, and suggestions from interested and experienced readers so that what I say to these young adults is not exclusively born of my experiences, understandings, and orientations.

Therefore, given the audience profile above, I am addressing this post to:

  • students (any discipline, secondary and tertiary, any nationality, age, social background): what would you want to know from a lecture on Higher Education in the UK (past, present, and future)?
  • academics, researchers, lecturers, professors: what would you want such a generation of students to know, knowing they could be on your Masters and PhD programmes?
  • parents: if your child were in the audience, what would you want them to know? And if you were in the audience, what would you want to know?
  • academic writing teachers, lecturers, researchers: what should I tell them about writing in the academy?
  • administrators, student services, international officers: what does a young, educated, international student need to know about your procedures and practices?

I’d love to hear from you either in the comments to this post, by tweet @serenissimaj or @EAPTutorJM, or by email: julia.molinari@nottingham.ac.uk

Depending on how this crowd-sourcing goes and on how the lecture turns out, I’ll write another post with an update, acknowledgements, slides, etc. I’ll also keep replies anonymous (if you want me to).

3 thoughts on “A lecture on the past, present, and future of UK Higher Education”

  1. Things to tell them (in no particular order) include ‘addressing’ lecturers; how marks in the UK differ from elsewhere (i.e. getting in the 60s is good); reading is fundamental to the L & T process; teachers don’t tell you everything there is to know / you need to know (you have to do more than just copy/make notes from the lectures); what you study outside class time is as important as what you study in class time; be punctual to classes and don’t miss anything (but if you turn up late, do go into the classroom; – better to be late than not at all!; never take a phone call etc. during a class or seminar; get together with other students in the course – form study/discussion groups; ask your lecturer/personal tutor if you don’t know what to do; check your university email regularly (or forward it to your regular email address).; access the on-line resources where available; read, read and read more (again!!!).

    That’s all for now!


    1. Thanks, Fiona – yes to all that you say. I wonder, though, if it has always been so (eg that getting 60 is ‘good’ or that being punctual is ‘a must’), and whether it always will be so. I would like to give them a sense of context and history for all these conventions and expectations. Your response has reminded of all the things ‘we’ expect now. My job will be to contextualise and historicise some of these practices. I won’t have time for all, but hopefully some.

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